By Taylor Wigginton, FLC Client and Family Experience Coordinator
It is common for adults with disabilities to have a limited diet, lacking a variety of nutrients necessary for the body’s systems to work well. One of our favorite phrases in cooking and nutrition classes at Friends Life Community is “eat the rainbow,” and no, we aren’t talking about Skittles© – we mean whole and nutritious foods. FLC works hard to introduce new foods, recipes, and healthy choices to help the Friends grow their independence skills and better their health journeys.
Our Life Skills program provides cooking and nutrition classes for the Friends to learn about health and try new foods in a safe space. When we eat natural foods of different colors, we provide our bodies with essential vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and more to keep ourselves in good shape and healthy, leading to a longer, happier, and more independent life!
One very easy way to pack in a lot of color (and nutrients) into your diet is with a smoothie. Smoothies are customizable, quick, and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Here is an easy guide we created with the Friends on making a nutrient-packed smoothie.
Tips on introducing new foods to individuals with IDD:
- Try providing options for your loved one and let them pick what they want in their smoothie. Provide foods they do and do not like. See what they pick!
- Let them make a smoothie, then make a smoothie yourself with different ingredients and share it. This is a great way to allow choice and a challenge.
- Take turns picking ingredients! Let your loved one pick first, then you pick. This way you can introduce new colors or foods that they may not pick for themselves.
- Give your smoothies a theme. If you are using greens, chances are your smoothie will be green. This can be intimidating or even yucky to some people. Give it a themed name to make it seem more fun. For example, if your favorite sports team’s color is green, name it after the team!
- Put the smoothie in a cup with a lid where you cannot see the color of the smoothie. This might help encourage eating even the funkiest of colors since they cannot see the smoothie.